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The Sterling

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
Ok how about we meet up in a building you can have your FAL and i will take the SMG. Comparing a SMG to a SLR on range is pointless. You would not put the SLR up against a .50 sniper.

PS

I have never fired a sterling i have fired a Sten, SLR and a FAl

As was demonstrated when Uzi-armed Israeli paras cleared AK-armed Jordanians out of Jerusalem.
 
Hmm.. I have fired the Sterling, Uzi & the French Mat 49 SMG'S, the one I preferred was the Uzi, sadly our issue weapon in the NRP was the Sterling.
Which leads me to a cautionary tale from my NRP days which I mentioned in my thread https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/tales-of-a-colonial-policeman.279647/ ... Part of our basic training was the handling & firing of the various weapons we were issued with one was the Sterling SMG, on the range one day we were practicing firing the Sterling from the hip, when Pringle, who had fired a few rounds at the target had the gun jam on him, instead of just keeping still and putting his hand up as instructed, he started trying to clear the jam by pulling the bolt back and forth, whilst turning towards the instructor who was standing behind him with the rest of the squad. In the process of this the gun had turned with him and was pointing at us with Pringle still clicking the bolt back and forth, we dived for the ground whilst the instructor pushed the barrel of the weapon down the range just as Pringle cleared the jam and fired off the rest of the magazine.!!
 
800m with a pistol? That's one lucky shot... and one unlucky copper.

9x19mm still has just enough kinetic energy remaining at 800m to wound or even kill (from the Sterling commercial manual, but muzzle velocity is not much less from a pistol):

1596460912469.png


The US military worked on the basis that 60 ft.lb was the minimum required to cause a disabling wound.

But you can see that the bullet drops subsonic between 100 and 200m, which is part of why the group opened up - the bullet gets buffeted as it drops through Mach 1 (you want ideally to be either supersonic or subsonic all the way from the muzzle to the target)
 
I'll always remember the signs outside almost every static location on Granby that read 'All SMG's Must Unload Now' due to the amount of incidences of them getting their cocking handle caught of scrim nets and safeties being knocked off causing much exitement. They were also involved in a couple of fatalities due to the safty being off and either the weapon being jarred causing it to discharge or it being snagged on random items.
I'm not sure how true these were, but I did spend a night in a tent with the war graves bods as they told me about one guy who'd jumped off the back of a 4 tonner and had his SMG slung over his back with the safetly knocked off.
The impact of him hitting the ground caused the weapon to cycle and shot him in the back of the head. Not sure if this is true, but it's always stuck with me.
I'd be very interested to see how this compares to the Falklands war, where I suspect that most SMG's were carried at the ready for the most part rather than slung over the users back as on Granby.
Saying that though, I loved firing the SMG and it certainly ranks as one of the most ally looking firearms ever created.
 

DaManBugs

On ROPS
On ROPs
Book Reviewer
800m with a pistol? That's one lucky shot... and one unlucky copper.
I'd prefer to call it a "fluke shot" rather than, er, "lucky" - given the tragic result. But what surprised me in the report was exactly that extreme distance. There was a subsequent article about the incident in either "Stern" or "Der Spiegel" magazine. I can't quite mind which one it was for the whole thing happened yonks ago. But there was an illustration of where the shooter had stood and where the victims. The revelation that one had been shot dead at about 800 metres really made me sit up and take note. It's not the sort of range that you'd normally attribute to NATO 9, is it?

There are plenty of articles about the two murders here:
But I can't seem to find anything about the actual distances involved. Oh, by the way, the shooter was eventually caught and sent down for 15 years. I made a mistake there because he was nabbed a long time after the incident.

MsG
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
My experience of the SMG, copied from the Hunting forum:


I joined the Army in 85, and my first posting as an armourer was to Depot Queens Div in Bassingbourn in 86. At that point, there were nearly as many SMGs in the armoury as there were Rifles (1200 SMGs, 1400 Rifles IIRC). My personal weapon was the SMG, and being a keen young Craftsman I often volunteered or was voluntold to conduct the range tests on repaired weapons. I could easily get hits on fig 12 targets at 150m (the max length of the baffled range on the airfield at Bassingbourn) with the SMG; over two years I fired hundreds of 25-30 year old Sterlings, and I don't remember ever having a stoppage that wasn't caused by damaged mag lips, damaged ejectors or ammo (mainly ammo).

As far as I am aware, the fabled British Squaddies' antipathy toward the Sterling was an accumulation of various mistruths and mistaken identities, along with the oft referenced "Indian Ammo". Partly thanks to old wives' tales told about the Sten (and in one case, the Thompson), it garnered a NAAFI bar reputation as unsafe ("if you drop it it'll fire off the whole mag" - Sten), cheap ("It only cost £X to make" - Sten), unreliable ("the mags are crap" - Sten), plus "it always misfires" - Indian Ammo/Sten mags), inaccurate ("No one can hit anything" - early Stens?), and underpowered ("A wet blanket will stop the bullets" - Thompson, but possibly Indian Ammo as well).

By the late 80s, a big part of the SMG hate was snobbery that it was seen as a Remf's gun; if the chefs and spanner wnakers got it issued it must be crap, and how could steely eyed infanteers be expected to use it? Rambo never used one, so the Blankshires and Loamshires should be issued Uzis forthwith and leave the old fashioned looking Sterlings to the attached arms.

I was posted to an Infantry Bn in 88, which was already kitted out with SA80, and we promptly went off to NI. Sterlings were issued for drivers (along with an 8 shot folding stock Remington Wingmaster for the escort!), with 10 round mags - a local mod I was dicked with producing prior to the tour. Once again, test firing with the diddy mags I experienced no stoppages at all.

As for the oft repeated "wet blanket" line about stopping power, my response was always the same: "Fair enough, you hold the blanket, I'll have the SMG". I read (somewhere) that this trope originated with the .45" Thompson SMG, where a wet blanket hanging loosely from a line sometimes could stop the slower moving bullets by absorbing the KE, but to be honest I don't give it much credit. Back to 9mm, a lot of confidence was lost with the 70s purchase of Indian 9mm, but by the 80s, I believe it was removed from stock. The NAAFI bar knitting circle still held on to the line that an SMG would either explode or the barrel would fill with spent bullets. Strangely the exact same 9mm ammo was considered to be a man stopper when fired from the much more tacticool L9A1 Browning pistol

The Sterling SMG was a robust, reliable and effective weapon which apart from being a cam net magnet was ideal as a personal weapon for support troops, crew served weapon operators, signallers, commanders and the like. The magazines were excellent (if heavy), the folding stock was rigid in place and folded neatly out of the way, the change lever was simple and well situated, and the trigger mech was bullet proof. In full auto it was easily controllable, and on Rounds you could get surprisingly accurate results for an open bolt weapon (with practice).
 

ericferret

War Hero
Shot the SMG in the small arms competition at Bisley in 1977. Remembered as the curry powder fiasco.
The ammunition for the competition had been manufactured in India or Pakistan can't remember which.
Quality control was obviiously not a strong point.

It either fired as single shots with an unusual amount of recoil or a burst as the charge was only just enough to clear the block beyond the magazine without locking.

After several bursts had been fired while single shot was selected a halt was called.

The result was well everybody suffers equally!!!! and if you can't take a joke you should't have joined.
It really was a joke of a competition. You never knew what was going to happen.
 
I'll always remember the signs outside almost every static location on Granby that read 'All SMG's Must Unload Now' due to the amount of incidences of them getting their cocking handle caught of scrim nets and safeties being knocked off causing much exitement. They were also involved in a couple of fatalities due to the safty being off and either the weapon being jarred causing it to discharge or it being snagged on random items.
I'm not sure how true these were, but I did spend a night in a tent with the war graves bods as they told me about one guy who'd jumped off the back of a 4 tonner and had his SMG slung over his back with the safetly knocked off.
The impact of him hitting the ground caused the weapon to cycle and shot him in the back of the head. Not sure if this is true, but it's always stuck with me.
I'd be very interested to see how this compares to the Falklands war, where I suspect that most SMG's were carried at the ready for the most part rather than slung over the users back as on Granby.
Saying that though, I loved firing the SMG and it certainly ranks as one of the most ally looking firearms ever created.

The safety lever is indeed quite proud, and easily knocked off. The bolt doesn't have to get pulled/jarred back very far for it to take a round from those slick-feeding mags. I'll demo this in a video at some point.
 
I'll always remember the signs outside almost every static location on Granby that read 'All SMG's Must Unload Now' due to the amount of incidences of them getting their cocking handle caught of scrim nets and safeties being knocked off causing much exitement. They were also involved in a couple of fatalities due to the safty being off and either the weapon being jarred causing it to discharge or it being snagged on random items.
I'm not sure how true these were, but I did spend a night in a tent with the war graves bods as they told me about one guy who'd jumped off the back of a 4 tonner and had his SMG slung over his back with the safetly knocked off.
The impact of him hitting the ground caused the weapon to cycle and shot him in the back of the head. Not sure if this is true, but it's always stuck with me.
I'd be very interested to see how this compares to the Falklands war, where I suspect that most SMG's were carried at the ready for the most part rather than slung over the users back as on Granby.
Saying that though, I loved firing the SMG and it certainly ranks as one of the most ally looking firearms ever created.
Why on earth would you have an SMG made ready on safety unless you were about to use it? Readied and slung? FFS!
 

Themanwho

LE
Book Reviewer
9x19mm still has just enough kinetic energy remaining at 800m to wound or even kill (from the Sterling commercial manual, but muzzle velocity is not much less from a pistol):

View attachment 494257

The US military worked on the basis that 60 ft.lb was the minimum required to cause a disabling wound.

But you can see that the bullet drops subsonic between 100 and 200m, which is part of why the group opened up - the bullet gets buffeted as it drops through Mach 1 (you want ideally to be either supersonic or subsonic all the way from the muzzle to the target)
The amount of utter tripe that is still said about 9mm is amazing. There's a reason that it's still in use after a century of service; it's an effective, easily fed round which will deliver sufficient damage to your enemy for them to lose interest in you (even in FMJ). But listen to any old NATO warrior or Bubba and it's less lethal than a .177 air pellet.

Re: extreme range accuracy, many years ago I watched a Para Sgt knock down moving targets with a 9mm Browning at 200m (Lydd NITAT, 1988). Sounds ridiculous I know, but I saw it with my own eyes. Go figure.
 
It wasn't me maintaining issues about the ballistic performance, I was reiterating what @stoatman was saying and querying whether the 9mm's accuracy etc., would be better with an MP5.

I'm just a layman civvie but I'm guessing that wind and drag added to the 9mm's degrading stability would affect where it hits at 200m. It would still hurt if hit by it though.

One of our SNCOs got a few SMGs onto a range, firing, in the unused lanes, alongside riflemen. SMG fired, standing, full auto 2 or 3 round bursts, at Figure 11 targets (single man-sized) at 400m. No-one was counting the hits or the grouping, but there were plenty of hits on the targets, the majority of those fired.. I think the purpose of the lesson was to dispel the wet blanket myth. It wasn't even difficult, if you aimed up by the appropriate amount. There are lots of videos on Youtube of people hitting things at daft ranges (800 - 1,000m) with 9mm.

Having said it could do it, there are lots of reasons why you shouldn't do it if an SLR, GPMG or equivalent was available. The velocity is the main reason, the 7.62mm parabola is flatter, the 9mm path is a lot more curved. The 7.62mm will hit anything in it's path, the 9mm has to drop down onto the target and misjudging the range will ensure a miss. Since it takes longer to travel a given distance, any wind will shift it a lot more.
 
Once I scored 87 hits on the 25m range firing the smg.....which is amazing since I only fired 60 rounds, it turns out that there's an even blinder twat* than me out on the range that day :)

Similar thing with me on SLR night shoot. More holes in the target than rounds issued, DS Cpl. looking at me very suspiciously wondering where my 7.62 pencil was. I assured him (quite correctly) that I had used no such implement, he still didn't seem to believe me, suspicious old so and so.
 
Hmm.. I have fired the Sterling, Uzi & the French Mat 49 SMG'S, the one I preferred was the Uzi, sadly our issue weapon in the NRP was the Sterling.
Which leads me to a cautionary tale from my NRP days which I mentioned in my thread https://www.arrse.co.uk/community/threads/tales-of-a-colonial-policeman.279647/ ... Part of our basic training was the handling & firing of the various weapons we were issued with one was the Sterling SMG, on the range one day we were practicing firing the Sterling from the hip, when Pringle, who had fired a few rounds at the target had the gun jam on him, instead of just keeping still and putting his hand up as instructed, he started trying to clear the jam by pulling the bolt back and forth, whilst turning towards the instructor who was standing behind him with the rest of the squad. In the process of this the gun had turned with him and was pointing at us with Pringle still clicking the bolt back and forth, we dived for the ground whilst the instructor pushed the barrel of the weapon down the range just as Pringle cleared the jam and fired off the rest of the magazine.!!

I hope he was dealt with crisply...
 
I found the SMG excellent and quite robust enough for bashing in tent pegs and the like.
What I didn’t like was the way the cocking lever would poke into your ribs when the weapon was slung over the shoulder .
An easy remedy for this of course is to remove the cocking lever and stow it safely in the zip pocket of your wallet.
Cleaning was easy especially if you put a little black nasty over any apertures to keep dust and dirt out.
As we never ever got issued any ammunition ( except on the annual APWT) none of these actions affected the viability of the weapon in the slightest.

It was still pretty good,, for a first prototype. Fcuk knows how they kept it in production for so long with all the little endearing foibles like that. It was a lesson in all that was then wrong with UK manufacturing, clapped out WW2 vintage machines and no investment in R&D or improved working methods.

There have been several attempts to copy and improve it. The cocking handle, the fiddly butt locking end-cap thingy and it's ability to let off a round if dropped loaded with the safety off were all features that the copiers tried to improve on. It was sufficiently good to be worth copying. This one, for example. It's not made in Dagenham.

 
Having had both the SLR and the SMG as personal weapons, I found that trying to compare them was a futile exercise akin to comparing apples with oranges. Both were good weapons which emerged from having differing requirements.

Sent from my SM-G973F using Tapatalk
 
The SMG, suffered from the same thing as pretty much every bit of standard issue kit. It was standard, while everybody wanted to be different, hence zips in boots, tropical combats, tailored combat jackets etc. If everyone has been issued Uzi's you could guarantee the fashionable man about town would have wanted the SMG.

I've always considered myself fashionable - and pretty much guilty of every other charge!

65576.jpg
 
I'd prefer to call it a "fluke shot" rather than, er, "lucky" - given the tragic result. But what surprised me in the report was exactly that extreme distance. There was a subsequent article about the incident in either "Stern" or "Der Spiegel" magazine. I can't quite mind which one it was for the whole thing happened yonks ago. But there was an illustration of where the shooter had stood and where the victims. The revelation that one had been shot dead at about 800 metres really made me sit up and take note. It's not the sort of range that you'd normally attribute to NATO 9, is it?

There are plenty of articles about the two murders here:
But I can't seem to find anything about the actual distances involved. Oh, by the way, the shooter was eventually caught and sent down for 15 years. I made a mistake there because he was nabbed a long time after the incident.

MsG
From wiki

Der 43-jährige Polizeihauptkommissar Klaus Eichhöfer, Hundertschaftsführer der IV. Bereitschaftspolizeiabteilung Hanau, war 516 Meter vom Täter entfernt, als er einen Schuss in den Unterbauch erhielt. Der 23-jährige Polizeimeister Thorsten Schwalm war Angehöriger der III. Bereitschaftspolizeiabteilung in Mühlheim und seit drei Jahren im Dienst. Er war 83 Meter vom Täter entfernt, als er ebenfalls im Unterbauch getroffen wurde.
 
As a Sapper field troop commander I was expected to carry an SMG. I carried an SLR.

For three reasons:

1. My dad had had two troop commanders sniped in Palestine. His advice: don’t look any different to your soldiers.

2. Difficult to issue the command ‘watch my tracer’.

3. I found on early exercises in Germany that I had a tendency during bridge recces etc to put the SMG down whilst wielding such arcane sappering tools as a 30m tape, and forget to pick it up again. I found that this was a mistake harder to make with THAT rifle.

The last one of these was the most relevant in the end :)
 
Pre granby training.
On one of the ranges a wet issue blanket was hung up and it was shot at with an SMG.
The many holes in the blanket proved that the rumour about it's penetrating power was "meaty spheres"
 

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